Op-Ed: MWAC recommendations could make Cayman the new standard in tipping culture

Op-Ed: MWAC recommendations could make Cayman the new standard in tipping culture

GEORGE TOWN, CAYMAN ISLANDS — Caribbean Employment Services Inc., a market-leading digital talent acquisition service, is eagerly watching to see how the government will respond to the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee’s (MWAC) minimum wage report released earlier this year, and whether it will implement the recommendations made. If adopted, many of the changes could augur well for the country’s workers across a broad scope of industries, improving hundreds of lives and livelihoods and elevating the country’s labour force on the whole.

Increasing minimum wage and recommending a comprehensive review every year are two major recommendations that will help ensure the lowest earners in the country do not have decades of being overwhelmed by ever-increasing inflation, as has been the case since the last minimum wage increase in the nation.

Additionally, Caribbean Employment is particularly interested in the recommendations about service workers who earn gratuity or commission, noting that the recommendation will require employers to pay a more fair share of wages to these employees. This recommendation, if adopted, has the potential to significantly change “tipping culture” as it exists in many North American countries. Tourists and locals have begun complaining about businesses that ceaselessly pound them to tip staff. This is becoming a pain point for customers throughout North America — at no fault of workers, who are merely trying to earn an honest living and provide for their families. Countless complaints can be seen on social media and other websites, where patrons also feel it is unfair to ask them to provide extra tips in a tight economy that could be facing recession.

However, the Cayman Islands could set a new precedent by requiring employers to pay at least 75% of the minimum wage rate. Instead of paying staff at a lower rate, forcing them to rely even more heavily on gratuity or commission, employers would have to do the responsible thing and pay their employees fair wages. While patrons may still be able to tip for good service if they choose to do so, it could remove some pressure and send the signal that it’s up to responsible employers, and not their customers, to fit the bill of employee wages.

We eagerly look forward to the government’s response and hope to see a favourable outcome for employers, employees, and the government alike.

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